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2003 Poet of the Year

Robert L. Ellerbe-Jones is a native of Wilmington, Delaware now living in Philadelphia, PA. He writes and performs under the pen name of Ren. On he can be identified as Ren. Ren has been writing since he was 10 years old, when he won his first poetry contest. A graduate of Delaware State University with degrees in English and Education, Ren has taught several creative writing classes.

He has self-published a book of poetry entitled, A Conversation Between Friends; and is currently working on his first spoken word CD. A true lover of the spoken word, Ren admits that he writes for the love of the Art. “Writing and poetry have been there for me, when I felt that no one else was. In many ways it has saved my life.”

When he is not writing Ren can found singing with the Philadelphia-based band, Jazz Fusion. His other favorite past times includes reading, web design, working out and relaxing with his family.


  • January Poet of the Month-
  • Induction into the National Poets Society- 2003
  • Induction into the International Society of Poets- 2003
  • Philadelphia Poetry Slam Champion- 2001

Word to Live By: Walk worthy of the vocation for which ye are called- Ephesians 4:1



Philadelphia/Pennsylvania/United States

Good News

To most it was just a phone call
But to me if was far far more.
You see
She called me
To tell me her good news.

Now her news, it wasn’t about me
Or what was or could be
It was about She
And so it began as she shared it with me

Each word was like warm caramel and chocolate
Being poured into the conduit of my ear
Sensory overload took control
While words dripped from her lips and landed in my lap.

I held on with patient expectation of her every line
She was the Pool of Bethesda wherein my healing I would find.
Each sentence raced across fiber optic lines to chase away my somber day
Verbal rainbow-imbued hues quickly replaced my blues
As she told me her good news.

Her joyful expressions became addictive
Giving wings to my laughter as it became unrestricted.
As she sang Floetry and recited poetry
I forgot about being in a mood
I simply fell into her groove.
As she told me her good news.

© Robert L. Ellerbe-Jones

How Do I Know Her

Last week I ran into your new man
A chance meeting by the Muslim oil stand
We made eye contact and did the brotha head pop
I turned and he touched my shoulder to get me to stop
I watched his lips as he said, “Yo, don’t I know you?”
I responded, “No” and no word had ever been so true.
He stared me down and said, “Yeah I do”
“I saw a picture of my girl and you.”
Images of you and I flooded my mind, as I remembered the way we were
Then he said the dumbest thing, “How do you know her?”
Silence was my answer as my mind began to wander
Did he just ask me, “How do I know her?”
The look on my face was blank but sly
The truth raced in my head and held my reply
How do I know her?
Well, she’s the oldest and the only girl
Her mother is her best friend and her world
She loves the Lord with all her heart
Her favorite movie is Color Purple and she knows all the parts
She loves to read anything by E. Lynn Harris
Tell her she’s special and she’ll get embarrassed
She stops by to see if I’ve been there
When she reads this, someone better yell “clear”
How do I know her?
He looked at me and cocked his head in true ghetto style
I sensed that he was getting impatient since my response was taking a while
There was so much to say but just not enough time
I realized that he couldn’t handle it if I just released my mind.
As I prepared to verbally respond, I thought it better to spare the fool
“How do I know her?”
“We were friend back in school”

© Robert L. Ellerbe-Jones

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